Direct quantitative measurement of the C═O⋅⋅⋅H–C bond by atomic force microscopy

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Science Advances  12 May 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 5, e1603258
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1603258

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The hydrogen atom—the smallest and most abundant atom—is of utmost importance in physics and chemistry. Although many analysis methods have been applied to its study, direct observation of hydrogen atoms in a single molecule remains largely unexplored. We use atomic force microscopy (AFM) to resolve the outermost hydrogen atoms of propellane molecules via very weak C═O⋅⋅⋅H–C hydrogen bonding just before the onset of Pauli repulsion. The direct measurement of the interaction with a hydrogen atom paves the way for the identification of three-dimensional molecules such as DNAs and polymers, building the capabilities of AFM toward quantitative probing of local chemical reactivity.

  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Molecule
  • Hydrogen bond

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